Creative Ways to Teach Sharing

mother playing with daughter

Start Off Small

A child does not truly understand the concept of sharing until about age 5, says Sara Lise Raff, an educational consultant and mom of three. “However, a child can be taught to understand some basic rules. such as waiting your turn (‘she goes, then you go’), if you walk away from a toy it is open for anyone else to play with, and if you bring your toy to a playdate, then everyone there gets to play with it.”

Time It!

The next time your child doesn’t want to part with something, set a timer, suggests Lynne Milliner, a pediatrician with Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital in Cleveland. “Let your child know that he’ll get to play for 10 minutes and then, when the timer goes off, it’s his sister’s turn to play for 10 minutes. This will show your child how to take turns and also let him know that giving up his toy isn’t permanent.”

Lead by Example

Kids pay close attention to what their parents do, so let your child see you in the act of sharing, says Laura Olson, a former teacher and the vice president of education for Kiddie Academy, a national child care and education franchise. “If you’re eating a sandwich, ask him if he’d like a piece of it. You and your spouse should also make a point to show your child how you share with one another, whether it’s taking turns choosing what movie to watch or sharing space in the bathroom.”

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